Human Resources Will Make or Break Your Company This Year

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Your employees are in charge this year.  Supply of skills is in shortage and demand of skills is in high alert.  Your company has probably reduced costs, restructured spending, and pushed people to work harder than ever.  I’ve heard executives say, “My top concern is the overwhelmed employee.”

Is your Human Resources (HR) department identifying the skills shortage, and working with the local and national Technical schools, Community Colleges and local High schools to fill the skills in high alert on the shop floor?  Your HR better make your workforce a top priority, instead of insurance or EEOC.  

Human Resources Will Make or Break Your Company This Year

“Is your HR too internal and removed from your marketplace?” asked Kenneth Hammonds [Fast Company Magazine, August 2005].  This is a critical question in 2016.

Because global economic growth has brought a new level of competition creating a need to leverage your existing workforce, your HR should manage the workforce analytics to know how to better use workforce core competencies to fill the skills in high alert on the shop floor.

Your HR department should be aggressively re-designing its policies and procedures to better engage your workforce to perform at higher levels. Is that happening at your company?

The top five HR concerns for 2016 are train the trainer, leadership development, recruiting, upskilling, and managing change [SHRM Survey Brief, Key Priorities for the HR Profession Through 2015, website].

Subject-Matter-Experts [SMEs] are today’s hot topic, one that is likely to be sustained throughout the decade and beyond because of the skills shortage.  Your HR department should identify and capitalize your SMEs as knowledge assets; capturing and sharing their tacit knowledge through various channels like: SME mentors and SME trainers. 

Do you know the core competencies of your SMEs?  What do you know about your workforce analytics? 

Your HR department should provide answers to four strategies, linking their answers to your company business plan:

  1. Innovation Strategy:                          How can HR promote innovation?
  2. Quality-Enhancement Strategy:         How can HR promote quality-enhancement?
  3. Cost-Reduction Strategy:                  How can HR promote cost-reduction?
  4. Speed Strategy:                                 How can HR enhance speed?

As a company leader, you have an obligation to provide answers to these strategic questions before HR can give you their plans for the four strategies.

  1. What are the company global strategies, priorities and pain points?
  2. What are the company global performance requirements?
  3. What is important to the CEO and other senior leaders?
  4. What do you need from HR?
  5. What is the operational plan to execute company strategies, priorities and pain points?

Align your HR department to your company business plan with these 2016 priorities:

  • Identify future talent needs based on the marketplace, competitive positioning, business strategy and workforce analytics. 
  • Identify SMEs [subject-matter-experts] of your core competencies for leveraging skills, knowledge and abilities.
  • Arrange Train the Trainer [T3] for SMEs knowledge sharing program.  
  • Promote teaming instead of individual production specialists.
  • Help grow internal talent by cross-training. 
  • Update the demographic profile of your workforce and be aware of the trends.
  • Arrange learning opportunities for people and establish individual training plans.
  • Create competency pools and talent reserves. Identify skills and skills not being used. 
  • Create policies and procedures to make a direct impact on your company success.
  • Promote ideas generation and using the brains and ideas of all. 
  • Re-assess the organizational chart and structure to manage all operations.
  • Drive an international talent strategy.
  • Keep leadership development fresh to ensure relevant skills to match global growth.
  • Manage global mobility, ex-patriot and international pay structure, and find challenging new roles at home for returning of ex-patriots.
  • Create unambiguous organizational designs, in which roles and accountabilities are tight enough for performance management and loose enough for market flexibility.


You cannot grow your company until your Human Resources is an effective executive team member pushing your organization to more marketplace success.  For that to happen, you must hold HR accountable to be more employee-centered with a business strategy focus.   

This article was originally published by Target Online on 2-25-2016.